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March 11, 2018 3:41 pm  #1

Is The Blue Jays Radio Broadcast Team Ready For The Majors?

I’m usually hard on Rogers, but it’s not their fault that they got blindsided by Jerry Howarth’s sudden decision to quit as the voice of The Blue Jays with just weeks to go before spring training began.
Now that it’s here, and with the proviso that replacing a 36-year legend is almost impossible, I’m wondering about the team they’ve assembled to broadcast this year’s games. Ben Wagner has not impressed me at all. He sounds like a Top 40 disc jockey getting ready to introduce the next record. Very solid, but not much personality there.
Howarth’s greatest strength, in my mind, was his ability to make even a dull blow-out exciting. I don’t see Wagner being able to do that. (But who knows – maybe 30 years from now I’ll be lamenting that no one can replace him, either.) Clearly the timing meant it was way too late for Rogers to hire anyone else, since the veteran voices would all have been contractually tied up, especially with so few weeks to go before opening day.
Where I do fault the owners, though, is the decision to transfer Joe Siddall to the TV booth. It’s hard enough to lose Howarth, but taking Siddall out, as well, is too much change too soon. I’m sure he deserves the promotion but the timing is terrible. The radio has been experimenting with a variety of colour commentators, including Homer Bush and Kevin Barker, none of whom are standouts. It’s not clear who will win that battle.
That leaves only Mike Wilner as continuity from previous seasons and he hasn’t been doing the play-by-play gig for all that long. And in reading online comments, I’m aware there appears to be a ton of people who aren’t fond of his style.
So I’m wondering what the assembled multitude here thinks of the still not solidified team for the regular season that starts March 30th. It looks like they’ve given the main role to Wagner, with Wilner ever present (and off Blue Jays talk) while still trying to decide on the permanent colour man.
Whatever your opinion, it seems clear that listening to the Jays this summer won’t be as much fun or as interesting as it has been in years past. Not exactly a strike out, but certainly far from a home run. 


March 11, 2018 3:58 pm  #2

Re: Is The Blue Jays Radio Broadcast Team Ready For The Majors?

I totally agree, the loss of Jerry leaves a big hole...and I have been listening in to the radio broadcasts during spring training games, I don't mind Wagner...although he has big shoes to fill and listeners will miss not hearing Jerry call the games, it is not enviable position to be in...Jerry is like family, a familiar, friendly voice that we have come to know for 36 seasons.

Maybe in time we will get used to a new voice doing play-by-play.

I didn't mind Kevin Barker this weekend, he has a bit of a sly sense of humour and I felt he brought a little extra to this weekends broadcasts.

Lastly, I prefer Wilner on Jays talk, find Rob Wong a bit dry as co-host of Jays talk...

Whatever happens it will take getting used to listening to a new broadcast team!



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